By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Johnson O’Malley Program usually hosts the Challenge Bowl for students, but this year it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the JOM Program was able to give the Belvin Hill Memorial Scholarship to one male and one female like every year.
According to JOM’s Manager Regina Keith, the Belvin Hill Memorial Scholarship is in rememberance of Belvin who was a field specialist at the JOM Program.
Belvin Hill was also one of the founding members of the Challenge Bowl. He passed away in 2006, so in 2007 this memorial scholarship was given away in his name at the Challenge Bowl.
“It started out as a $500 scholarship, but now we are giving away $1,000 scholarship to a male and female recipient,” Keith said.
In order to receive the scholarship, the male and female recipient must submit an application and write an essay on what the Challenge Bowl has meant to them. The students must be a senior participating their senior year.
“This year we were unable to have the event, but the committee wanted to go and make the scholarship available,” Keith added. “There has been seniors who have participated since the third grade, and that is something we didn’t want them to miss out on.”
This year would’ve been the 20th anniversary for the Challenge Bowl, beginning in 2001 at the Sapulpa High School. The JOM Program and Mvskoke Youth Services was able to put together a small virtual Challenge Bowl, having a few teams compete.
This year the male and female recipients of the scholarship are Caleb Pigeon and Jadyn Randall.
Pigeon is a senior at Sapulpa High School, he is the son of Farran Pigeon and Frank Yahola. He has been participating in the Challenge Bowl for nine years. According to Pigeon’s essay, when he first started competing in the Challenge Bowl in third grade he knew nothing about what it meant to be Native American, and after that year he had more knowledge about his cultural background.
The Challenge Bowl has opened his eyes to many things he did not know about his tribe and heritage. He said the material he learned from the competition would be topics he would not learn in school. He was able to learn and understand the language on how sacred it is to preserve it.
Pigeon plans to use his scholarship funds for things he will need when he goes to college. His plans are to attend the University of Oklahoma studying in Social Work.
The female recipient Jadyn Randall, is a senior at Glenpool High School. Randall is the daughter of Dr. Monte and Lauren Randall. She has been participating in the Challenge Bowl for nine years. According to Randall’s essay, she was asked in second grade if she wanted to do the Challenge Bowl the following year, and she did not want to but she competed in third grade.
After competing her third grade year, Randall learned to love it and was always looking forward to the next year. She only knew two Creek words before entering the competition, and she has learned much more from the competition. She learned more about her culture, history and language. If it was not for the Challenge Bowl she would have not entered into the royalty pageant.
Randall plans to use her scholarship money for college. She recently received a scholarship to Oral Roberts University and will be studying Medical Molecular Biology.